Elizabeth Dwoskin Writes: In 2001, two years into his term, Ryan was an early co-sponsor of a bill that extended sanctions against Iran and Libya. The bill directed the president to report to Congress on the effectiveness of sanctions aimed at pushing Iran to allow inspectors for the International Atomic Energy Agency to examine nuclear facilities. In 2007 and 2009, Ryan signed onto bills that, had they passed, would have strengthened sanctions by banning all foreigners whose companies violated sanctions from getting visas to enter the U.S. and would have allowed the U.S. to sanction executive officers of those companies by seizing their property.
The most recent Iran-related bill Ryan co-sponsored was signed into law this month by President Barack Obama. The bill extended sanctions on insurers that provide coverage to the National Iranian Tanker Co. and made companies disclose more information about their dealings with Iran in their S.E.C. filings.
In 2010, Ryan traveled with other members of Congress to the United Arab Emirates and to Oman to discuss Iran. Writing about the trip in a Wisconsin newspaper, Ryan says he tried to persuade leaders to more rigorously enforce sanctions that prevent missile and dual-use technology from entering and leaving Iran through Omani and Emirati ports.
Ryan was pleasantly surprised by his conversations with officials in the region: “Having studied the nature and extent of the Saudi contribution to combating the global terror network, my expectations were quite low. … As was made clear during many of my meetings, Iran’s history of belligerence in the region, its inflammatory Islamist rhetoric, and its support for terrorist and insurgent groups throughout the region are just as alarming for many governments in the Middle East.”